I’ve been doing a lot of thinking these past months. Both looking back and looking forward.
I remember back in 1991 sitting at Chelsea watching a match with my best friend, and him turning to me and saying, “You know, one day Chelsea are going to be huge in America! And you will start the biggest supporters club in America.” I laughed, of course, because in the 10 years of me following Chelsea from America I had not met a single supporter.
Roll the clock forward to 2004, when Andy started the Midwest Blues and I started the Texas Blues. Soon after we added the Pacific Coast Blues and the Southeast Blues before deciding to formally work together and form CIA. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been exciting, passionate and a work in progress. We have gone from a ragtag group of people who talked daily on Yahoo groups, to a full army of supporters that stretches across the country.
For 12 years, I have invested love, passion and more hours than I can count. It has been a TON of work but you all made a dream come true. It has brought me memories for a lifetime, the greatest joys, and laughter, and honestly it has made me who I am. I can’t imagine my life without all of you.
But here is the thing, I am now 58. And to be honest, I am just tired. It’s time for a new daily routine, and to take some time to just be a supporter, run my business, live my life, and maybe even paint a little.
To that end I will be stepping down from my position in CIA completely in the very near future. I will still be an active member, but I will NOT be running the day to day stuff of CIA.
Over the past few years I have slowly given up tasks and found very talented people who were willing to step up and take responsibility for many of the things that need to happen to make CIA a success.
We have 6 AMAZING regional heads who have been working in the background on membership, tickets, working with the club, summer tours, the website, email, marketing, server, finances, and all of that. If anyone doubts that CIA will be led by a fantastic group of leaders, I have seen them deal with huge issues and come up with amazing solutions. We have some absolutely wonderful chapter heads as well, working hard to organize things on a local basis. Additionally, there are others that volunteer tirelessly at the CIA national level: Raciel, Mike, Shaun, Dennis, Andy, Josh, Nick, Brian, Erik & Carolyn, Kim and more.
But here is the reality check:
WE ARE A VOLUNTEER GROUP AND WE NEED ADDITIONAL PEOPLE TO PARTICIPATE IF CIA IS TO CONTINUE AND MOVE FORWARD.
There are a variety of areas to help. We need assistance with variety of areas from membership functions to technology to communications to organizing the summer tours and a variety of social media functions like web site articles and podcasts. Many Chapter heads also need help with Facebook, Twitter and just running meet ups.
All of these things are not hard, nor do they take work every day. Honestly I think if every CIA member committed to one hour a month we would go from a great club to an incredible club. I just don’t know if everyone understands the number of volunteer hours put in by so few people.
SO HERE IS THE REAL ISSUE.
Next season will be my last season and there are four major tasks that need to be learned and done, they need to be done all the time, without fail.
Here is what ‘critical functions’ need to be done by new volunteers:
- Process the membership payments and data
- Process the membership packets
- Process ticket requests so that regional heads can send them in and deal with members on the details
- Help with answering the constant stream of emails that I get on a daily basis, which I feel will be more a function of getting the email to the right person to answer it
I’ve devised a way of breaking up these four tasks so that they could be done by teams of people, that way no one is standing alone with all of this on their shoulders. But without a team for me to train next year, and I hate saying this, there will be no CIA. We won’t be able to do memberships. We won’t be able to process True Blues. We won’t be able to request tickets. That is just the reality.
And if you are wondering why the 6 regional heads can’t do it, because they are already pushed to their limits of volunteer time. So it is up to ALL OF YOU.
If this has inspired you to step up and help your club, here is what you need to do: Send me an email and be specific as to how you would like to help.
I have listed the tasks that need help, so if you have skills in tech, or as a writer, database management, shopping carts, whatever, tell me what skills you have, and what you want to help with. If there’s more than one task you are interested in, tell me. I will collect responses for about a month, and then I will be in touch with everyone.
So as for me, don’t think for a moment that I won’t be helping and doing things for CIA because I will! I am hoping that freeing me up from the day-to-day stuff will allow me to be the past president that CIA deserves to help no matter what and to mentor those who are going to take CIA forward for the next decade. I could never leave CIA completely, but it sure would be nice to be “just a supporter” going forward and enjoy life as I get older.
I hope to hear from many of you, I know that there are people out there with the skills, the time, and the desire to take up the reins of CIA and be a bigger part of the BEST SUPPORTERS CLUB IN THE WORLD.
LOVE YOU ALL,